EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Morning Briefing for December 15, 2011
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Historically when the left takes power in a country they begin to rewrite their history. Barack Obama, a quintessential leftist, has started doing that in the run up to his re-election. In his speech in Kansas last week, Obama claimed that at no time in our history had we ever spurred economic growth and prosperity by cutting taxes and deregulating.
He conveniently had to overlook John F. Kennedy’s tax cutting in the 1960?s. But more importantly and more relevantly, he had to ignore the Reagan Revolution of the 1980?s that brought about an explosion of economic growth. As Newt Gingrich pointed out yesterday, in one month in 1983 the Reagan Recovery generated more than one million new jobs.
Barack Obama and the Left must dismiss and gloss over this point. They must fixate on income inequality. They must fixate on poverty. Never mind that all levels of society saw benefit from the Reagan Revolution. While it was not equal, the overwhelming number of Americans alive at the time saw their standard of living go up.
The left would respond by arguing that it went up too much for some and not enough for others. What they are actually saying is that they’d rather it had not gone up at all then to see some get even richer. While, as Reagan noted, the right measures the success of a welfare program by how many people are able to get off it, the left measures the success of welfare programs by how many people get on it.
And so it is that Barack Obama has to throw Bill Clinton under the bus to make his case for re-election. In an interview with WVEC-TV, Barack Obama claims he has no responsibility for the present economic mess. In addition to the rise of ATM’s and the internet killing jobs, he said, “We didn’t create the condition. We haven’t solved it fully yet because it was three decades in the making.”
Three decades back was 1981, the year Ronald Reagan came to office. And that “three decades in the making” covers Bill Clinton’s term, which until yesterday had been heralded as a success by the Democrats.
But it cannot be a success to Barack Obama. It must be written out of the history books and pretended to have never happened.
Massachusetts with Mitt Romney as Governor became the testing ground for gay marriage, which Romney revisionists would have you believe he fought more than he actually did, and socialized medicine, which Mitt Romney is still quite proud of.
The United States with Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House saw welfare reformed and the budget balanced.
Mitt Romney once said he supported abortion rights because his mother did. His wife gave money to Planned Parenthood. As Governor he made numerous pro-abortion appointments. Newt Gingrich has always been solidly on the side of life.
While I might choose to look at that record and go with Gingrich, the fine folks at National Review have endorsed Mitt Romney with a blistering broadside about Newt Gingrich for being unelectable.
Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, he is so bad a candidate that National Review cannot even use the word endorsement in their endorsement. They describe it as “winnowing the field,” but they stack the field for declaring that he and two guys barely at 2% in the national polling (Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum) are the only viable candidates.
Ideas don’t run for president; people do. That’s as true today as it was four years ago. So, it is understandable that much of the press and blog coverage of the 2012 GOP primary race has focused on the personalities, experience and record of the candidates rather than their ideas. In fact, until you know the candidates by their actions, you cannot meaningfully judge what their words will mean in practice. Mitt Romney is the prime example of this, having so inconsistent a record that it’s impossible to take seriously the idea that he’s guided by any sort of coherent political philosophy.
But as it happens, we do have three candidates in this race who stand for a distinctive philosophical approach to domestic policy. One of those, Ron Paul, espouses a radical constitutionalism that exists on the periphery of the conservative movement. Rick Perry, while his issue stances are more conventionally (but not always uniformly) conservative, can best be understood through the lens of his guiding principle as a Texas nationalist – a belief that a significant amount of the powers now wielded by the federal government should be returned to the states. And then there’s Newt Gingrich. Newt generates so many new ideas – he develops more firmly-held political convictions before breakfast each morning than Romney’s had his entire life – that it’s tempting to view them as essentially random. But there is a method to the madness. Setting aside for a moment Gingrich’s personal attributes, let’s look at his ideas, with particular attention to two recent interviews he did – one with Ben Domenech, Brad Jackson and Francis Cianfrocca at Coffee and Markets, the other with Glenn Beck. Both provide a keen window into how Newt views domestic policy issues. In the interests of length, I’ll pass over one of the three pillars of Newt’s worldview (his futurism and faith in new technologies), which has been written about extensively, and focus on two others: his gradualism and his revival of what I call “Reform Conservatism.”
As many of you know, Congress is working to pass the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012. One of the provisions in the bill, pertaining to our terrorist detainee policy, has created a stir among Constitutionally-minded citizens.
Thank you to Red State for allowing me space to clarify what is and what is not in this provision. Sometimes when we feel strongly about an important issue, such as our liberty, the debate can be muddled by hyperbole and passion. It is my sincere hope that we can use this opportunity to give you the exact details on what this provision seeks to accomplish, so that we are not rejecting an entire defense bill –which provides pay and supplies to our troops- based on incorrect or inflated statements in the media.
Understand that I share your concerns about government intrusion on our civil liberties. I do not believe we must choose between our security and our freedom, but I am also keenly aware of the fact that we must be smart about combating terrorists like the Underwear or Times Square bomber who seek to exploit our free society in order to do us harm.
According to the vote count that leaked out, Senator Roy Blunt became Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman with 25 votes and Senator Ron Johnson lost with 22 votes.
Let me be up front that I genuinely like Roy Blunt. But I also think Senator Blunt is part of the status quo problem in Washington. My support of Ron Johnson was about Ron Johnson being a guy from a state hard for the GOP to win who has fresh, conservative ideas and isn’t in Washington raiding the budget to send back home.
But such a guy is anathema to the Senate GOP leadership. Our work is not done. But there are races across the country where we can help turn the tide and get a set of Senate Republicans who will turn the tide, who will fight for fiscal sanity and a smaller Washington. The odds are in the GOP’s favor to take back the Senate.
We need to increase the odds that conservatives take back the Senate GOP. It is a long fight. But here are some candidates who will help. There are links you can follow to give them money and, if you choose not to give to them, please at least consider the Senate Conservatives Fund.